Southern nursing leadership shake-up

4 July 2017

Strong opposition to nursing leadership changes at Southern District Health Board has seen some positions saved but major job changes are still afoot.

The DHB late last week announced its new leadership and management structure that includes 11 nursing leadership roles being disestablished, to be replaced with seven.  It also changes reporting lines for nurses.

In its initial consultation document the DHB was proposing disestablishing 13 nursing leadership positions and replacing them with a chief nursing and midwifery officer and three other senior nursing leadership positions.

But chief executive Chris Fleming said the proposed nursing changes raised the greatest concern including 141 submissions of which 136 opposed the proposed changes (that did away with dedicated nursing directors for areas like medical and surgical services and a number of senior nurse management roles).  He said a major theme of the submissions was the value of nurse managers and the roles they played in quality improvement, culture and patient safety.

After discussions with the executive director of nursing and midwifery, Leanne Samuel, and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation he decided to review the nursing proposal leading to the final decision announced at 5pm on June 30.

The positions being disestablished include Samuel's executive director of nursing and midwifery position which is to be replaced with a chief nursing and midwifery officer role.  The new role will split off operational responsibility for nursing and midwifery staff and change the reporting line for the new tier of nursing leaders. But the role will still be part of the executive leadership team and report directly to the CEO 

Currently five nursing directors and the midwifery director report directly to Samuel and 715 fulltime equivalent (FTE) nurses.  This will change to four nurse leadership roles reporting directly to the chief nursing officer and 14 indirect reports 

Most charge nurse managers will report to the five directors of nursing who will report to the operations manager or executive director of the section. Most of the new inhouse positions will be internally advertised this month. Across the DHB 55 leadership positions are being disestablished and replaced with 42.




NEW NURSING ROLES ESTABLISHED (to replace 11 disestablished roles)

  • Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer 
  • Director of Nursing Southland
  • Director of Nursing Surgical, Dunedin
  • Director of Nursing Medical, Women & Children, Dunedin
  • Director of Nursing Strategy, Primary & Community, DHB wide
  • Associate Director of Nursing Southland
  • CNM Perioperative, Southland



  • Director of Midwifery
  • Director of Nursing Mental Health & Addictions and Intellectual Disability
  • Associate Director of Nursing Surgical Dunedin – Perioperative & ICU
  • Associate Director of Nursing Medicine – Southern Blood & Cancer

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